Monday, December 28, 2009

Making Linux look like Windows

A great thing about the Linux desktop is that it's so easy to apply different themes to it. You can make Linux look like anything, so it suits your particular needs.

Taken to an extreme, a group of users in China have applied a theme to Ubuntu Linux that makes it look almost identical to Windows XP. Why? Because apparently this group was previously responsible for releasing a pirated version of Windows XP, which is now being cracked down on by Microsoft.

But themes that make Linux look just like Windows are not all that new. For example, check out this how-to video showing a theme kit that makes a GNOME desktop look just like Windows XP.

(Note: re-using the Microsoft Windows logo and icon set is still copyright infringement. I do not endorse these themes.)

I wonder how many Windows users will be fooled? But more to the point, how many of these Windows users will realize that Linux is just as easy to use as Windows? Perhaps some good will come out of this.


  1. I dunno about that...
    In my experience, more people have been hooked by a Mac-clone-style than by a Windows-clone-style due to the "novelty" and "ease-of-use" of Mac OS X.
    It's a really easy process to skin, anyway.

  2. I wonder how many Windows users will be fooled?

    I wondered the same thing when I saw this on Slashdot. My initial reaction was "this is a stupid idea" because even if you got the theme perfect, there are still lots of things that make, well, Windows Windows and Gnome Gnome. In the video you posted, the file browser is different at 1:10, the start menu differs at 1:20, things like minesweeper don't look like Windows, and Windows doesn't have dialogs like the one at 1:43. And if most dialogs look like the one at 0:57, the theme brings back the ugly of GTK 1. And none of that will help you run Windows-only programs. (Not only that, but it's not a perfect reproduction. The dots separating the parts of the task bar are too white, and the 'show desktop' icon is too large. (It's these nitpicks like this which are why I'm such a stickler for using native widgets.))

    But my second rection was I wonder if any of that matters. People who are as picky as I am probably aren't scared off by things that are a little different in the first place. So I dunno. It'd be interesting to see what a variety of people who were used to XP thought of it.


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